The 2005 National Cable & Telecommunications Association convention this week is no doubt teeming with industry movers and shakers making fearless predictions about the television business -- fearless, as in not particularly worried that anyone a few years from now will bother actually checking their accuracy.
Hoping to put a little scare into them, B&C went back a decade and dug up some prognostications that we solicited from top cable executives in the run-up to the 1995 NCTA.
Alas, it turns out that these folks were shockingly prescient. We presented them with a list of about 40 new or yet-to-launch cable channels and asked these expert programmers to pick out the 10 most likely to succeed. They chose: America’s Talking, Cartoon Network, ESPN2, FX, Golf Channel, History Channel, HGTV, Sci Fi, Food Network, Turner Classic Movies.
On this list, only America’s Talking did not become a top-tier net on its own, but even that channel was re-engineered into MSNBC, and AT’s founding president, Roger Ailes, parlayed the “talk cable” approach into a wee bit of programming success of his own.